Saturday, January 3

Wooleys Bay

(see map) trin: We planned to meet up with my Dad on the North Island of New Zealand. Eventually we settled on the Tutukaka Coast where he rented a beach house for the holidays. Other than the lack of surf, it couldn't have worked out better. Coming to the end of our trip, Mike and I were either worn down or wound up depending on the day. Settling into Wooleys Bay without an immediate departure date looming over our heads allowed us to decompress. Mike took advantage of the internet connection and started his job hunt. I enjoyed having my own kitchen and laundry machine. It gave us time to prepare for coming home.

Our Bach (derived from Bachelor Pad, a rustic second home on the beach) was on a hill overlooking a beautiful bay to the east and lush farmland to the west.

Our view from the front deck.

Laundry Day

Trying to capture the sunset.

While there we celebrated Christmas and New Years. It was difficult for the three of us to wrap our heads around Christmas. It was warm and sunny and everyone around us was on their summer vacation. Very different from our typical chilly Christmas with football games on the tv.

But, on Christmas Eve we did our best. In an effort to evoke the Christmas spirit, I made lots of food and streamed Christmas music over the internet.

Dad embraced the local customs and went surfing.

Unable to find a small ham, the three of us ate leftovers for a week.

Pavlova a traditional dessert in Australia and New Zealand.

Without football we turned to our latest game, Yahtzee! We are still playing with our Dutch Score Pads (from our friends in Muang Noi). So, half the fun was pronouncing things like Grote Straat instead of Big Strait.

On Christmas Day we took a scenic drive up the coast to the adorable town of Russel on the Bay of Islands. There we went for a little hike and enjoyed ice cream cones along the shore.

The cutest police station I've ever seen.

At some point during the visit my Dad told me his day wasn't complete until I said "Oh... Dad..." This was one of the moments.

Bay of Islands

After Christmas, our neighbors continued to enjoy their summer holidays which were rooted in wholesome family fun. It wore off on us and when we weren't lounging around we went for hikes and played Frisbee on the beach.

On New Years Eve we went diving at the Poor Knight Islands which was much colder than we are use to but had really different plant and fish life. It was a great way to wrap up '08, an memorable year for both of us.

That evening we grilled some steaks and then headed over to the neighbors for a drink. From there we went down to Wooleys Farm where we enjoyed their enormous bonfire.

Considering we made no plans and spent no money, we all agreed it was a pretty cool New Years Eve.

No comments: